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US Consulate to sponsor UDG digital course for endangered journalists

May 20, 2012

With Mexico being one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists in recent years, the University of Guadalajara (UdeG) is running a new training program to minimize risks for members of the press.

The UdeG’s Center for Digital Journalism Training (CFPD) course is aimed at print, electronic and broadcast journalists who cover issues related to public safety, criminal organizations, conflicts and natural disasters. Partly sponsored by the U.S Consulate in Guadalajara, it is open to both Mexican journalists and foreign reporters working in Mexico.

The first part of the course is a six-week program of online classes, from August 26 to October 7. Those who perform best throughout this stage will then be invited to take part in a two-day workshop in the final week of October, with all expenses paid by the UdeG and the U.S. Consulate.

“One of the key ingredients for a working democracy is a free press immune from threats and pressures,” a consular official told the Reporter, to explain why the U.S. Consulate is sponsoring the program.

Investigative journalism is a hazardous occupation in Mexico, especially when it involves uncovering corruption or organized crime. Three photographers and one reporter were murdered in Veracruz this month alone.

The course will provide journalists with guidelines and protocols to follow to avoid or minimize risks. The workshops will also include coverage of a simulated natural disaster in the online role-playing game “Second Life.”

The U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara released a press release on “Media Intimidation” on Tuesday, affirming that “The United States government condemns the intimidation of the media anywhere in the world and supports journalists who work to maintain the integrity of their profession despite threats and violence directly against them.

“As recently emphasized, the United States supports the efforts of the government of Mexico and NGOs to generate space for independent journalists to perform their work without fear of violence or persecution. We honor the role of free and independent media in creating sustainable democracies and open and healthy societies,” read the statement.

The online classes require a minimum of eight to ten hours of weekly study and an intermediate level of understanding of the English language. Those who successfully complete the course activities will receive a certificate from the UdeG.

The course costs 1,000 pesos. The deadline for registration is July 22 and the deadline for payment is August 21. For more information email or click here.

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